RECAP!

Okay, so it’s been a while and I’m thinking we need a little recap before we get to our BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS…

*queue announcer voice*

When last we saw our young heroes, they had just wrapped filming at their Wall location, leaving one day of shooting left of The Dagon Wall to be done at the Cambridge location.  However, poor weather, vehicles dangling from stonewalls, and even worse – scheduling conflicts – kept our courageous heroes from finishing their film.  By sheer grit and determination, however, our heroes were able to bear down and bring their cast and crew together for one last day of shooting, and finally, wrapping their production.  Upon finishing the filming of their movie, our heroes quickly moved into Post Production, locking themselves in a small, dark, and often times smelly room, to edit their film.

This is where we find them now…

I think that wraps up the last couple weeks or more of filming quite nicely.  It did take us a little while to regroup after wrapping the Wall, and I have to admit I was beginning to stress a little that we couldn’t get all the players back together again.  Does Spielberg ever feel that way?  Anyway, it wasn’t that no one wanted to finish, but when you’re dealing with four different school schedules, extra-curricular activities, work schedules, family, and Vermont weather, it gets a little tough to line up even one day.  However, we prevailed, and finally had a great day of shooting.

On the last day we spent half of it indoors filming scene one, and then outside filming the cemetery scene, and the departure and return scenes of the movie. It was amazing how much more work it was setting up the lighting for an interior shot compared with the “rolling with it” we did while shooting our exterior shots.  With the exception of one exterior scene, we never used lights outside.

The day overall was a lot of fun, with minimal stress, and left me with only one regret.  I wasn’t there at the very end to say goodbye and thank you to everyone.  I had to run out just as we were filming the last scene, and didn’t get back in time before everyone had left for the day.  Hopefully, it’ll work as well for me as it did for Spielberg when the same thing happened to him on Jaws. The way I hear it, he does it the same way on every film since.

And since that last day, Brandon and I have been working hard on putting our little film together.  It has been a tremendous amount of fun and hard work.  I have to admit, I am so glad we storyboarded our whole film.  It was a huge help in planning our days, and getting our shots, and is now paying huge dividends while cutting it all together.  It’s funny, I’m still amazed – every time – when we cut a scene together and I’m like, “It’s totally the way we storyboarded it!”  Fist bumps usually ensue.

Which leads me to our first announcement.  When editing the movie, I sometimes find myself distracted by the lack of music and score.  It’s funny, our film totally looks like a movie now, feels – for the most part – like one, but doesn’t yet sound like one.  Brandon and I have always envisioned a large, epic, score for our film.  The score, to us, has always had to match the magnitude of the boys’ adventure and imagination.  From the start, Brandon has had a composer in mind, Woody Pak of Chaos Theory Music, but we weren’t sure if we could afford to hire a composer to write an original score for our film.  However, we never gave up on it.  By using PayPal and crowd sourcing our small budget, we were able to raise enough money to cover our pre-production and production of the movie, even most of post production, but we fell well short of raising enough to cover the score.  River Arts stepped up again for us and became our fiscal agent, allowing for tax-deductible donations to be made to The Dragon Wall.  After one very generous donation from a private donor, we received a grant from the John M. Bissell Foundation to cover the whole cost of the score. Woody is working on it now, and we expect to have it by the beginning to mid-January.  It’s still mind blowing to me to think that our little movie is going to have it’s own, original, piece of music to accompany it.  I can’t wait to put it together with our final cut of the film.  Oh, and make it available on iTunes!

We’ve almost got a picture lock on our film now; we’re close to having that final version.  One more night of editing, and we should be there with a complete cut, maybe a few further tweaks the following day, and then we’re on to color correction using the program, Color.

I know we’ve had some folks ask how we’re cutting our film, so I’ll try and flesh that out for you.  We’re using Final Cut Pro to edit and put our film together; I like it, we’d never used it before this project and I think it’s growing on both of us as we work through post.  We’re (and when I say “we”, I mean Brandon) also using After Effects to process some of our shots and do our special effects; the software is impressive, but in Brandon’s hands, the thing is downright magical in what it can do.  However, the best part, I think, of this process is in the collaboration.  It’s our movie, and so – in the end – we make the final call on every shot.  I’m not sure how much I’d like working on a project where we didn’t have that control, or without the same partner for that matter.

And now that leads me to our last announcement.  The Dragon Wall will be premiering at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe on January 16th; times and ticket details to be announced.  We’re also screening on January 20th at River Arts in Morrisville, kicking off their John M. Bissell Foundation Film Series at 7:30 PM.  Brandon and I will be doing Q&A’s after every showing, so bring your questions!  If you can’t make either screening, we’re also going to be hitting the film festival circuit pretty hard.  We’ll be making announcements of where and when we’re showing as soon as we know, so please keep tabs on the website for details.

I really cannot wait to see our film on a big screen and share it with everyone who’s worked so hard on it, contributed to it, and believed in it and us.  It’s going to be a big day and I hope all of you can make it for the premier.  A few people I think we’re particularly excited to show it to are our kids.  Most nights of editing, whether we’re at Brandon’s house or mine, or we’re working on the movie together or independently, our 4 kids find their ways to the studio or up onto our laps.  It’s funny to hear all of them saying the lines, verbatim, and with the same tone and inflection as our actors.  It’s awesome hearing them acting out the scenes in their bedrooms, or saying them along with the movie.  I remember doing it as a kid with Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars and Empire, but to hear Emma, Tristan, Barrett, and Logan doing it with our film, well, it gives me an amazing sense of pride and well, for lack of a better word, glee.  I remember how much I loved those movies as a kid, and I can only hope that our kids love this one just as much; that, and making it all worthwhile, maybe forgiving us for all the time we’ve spent locked away working on it.

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About thedragonwall

The Dragon is a independent short film being filmed in Northern Vermont.
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One Response to RECAP!

  1. Amy Olsen says:

    I like the way you and Brandon, although it’s “your” movie through and through…have made it all so public and open, making everyone who had a bit to do with it feel as though it’s ours in some small way too. I absolutely cannot wait for the premeir.

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